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Nats ink P Duke to minor league deal

The Washington Nationals signed pitcher Zach Duke to a minor league contract on Thursday.

Duke signed a minor league contract in January with Houston and struggled in four spring outings. He was roughed up for 18 runs on 25 hits, including five home runs, in just 14 1/3 innings. He was released by the Astros on Tuesday.

The veteran lefty was 3-4 with a 4.93 earned run average in 21 games last season with Arizona after spending his first six years with Pittsburgh.

An All-Star in 2009 with the Pirates, Duke has a career record of 48-74 with a 4.56 ERA in 181 games, including 168 starts.